Teenagehood? It’s the jazz improvisation of parenthood. Sure, you might think you’ve got all the sheet music, but your kid’s hitting notes you never saw coming. Openness, patience, and a thirst for novelty – these are your instruments now. With tips that will help you and your teenage child bond better, you’re not just rehearsing a script but inventing a rhythm unique to you two. This bonding gig, remember, it’s a slow jam, not a quickstep, built on trust and time, without room for rushing the beat.
However, your adolescent still looks up to you for support and direction, so don’t give up on trying to connect with them, even though it sometimes feels hopeless. They may be getting used to being on their own more, but they still need your rules and order. You may improve your relationship with your adolescent by keeping an open mind, treating them as equal, and being encouraging. If you can keep those three things in mind, you’ll be much closer in no time.
Here are four suggestions for strengthening your relationship with your adolescent.
1. Just listen.
Get to know your adolescent’s hobbies, activities, and school routine first. If you don’t understand what I mean, just ask. This is especially true for adults starting from scratch with an adolescent, such as foster parents or distant relatives. The secret to getting your teen to open up is to find something you have in common with them. Share some details about your personal and professional life. A sense of relatability can do wonders for your relationship with your teen, but you don’t have to act like you’re going through the same things. Don’t freak out if you can’t find a common ground with them. The time to be silent and listen is now.
Getting to know someone and understanding what makes them tick requires active listening without inserting yourself into the conversation. Don’t shut them down if they say anything you disagree with; instead, interact with them by asking questions about what they’ve said. If you want to gain their trust, you must demonstrate that you will accept them as they are.
2. Recognize your teen’s development.
Teens still require a great deal of parental attention, and that attention should be split evenly between discipline, advice, and support. When parents say to their children, “When I was your age, things were a lot tougher than they are now,” they devalue their children’s difficulties. Your adolescent would appreciate it if you treated them more like an adult and less like a child.
The teen years are a transitional time in a person’s life, says Emily Edlynn, Ph.D., the ‘Ask Your Mom’ advice columnist for Parents magazine. She explains that parents can help their teens mature by “scaffolding,” or reducing their amount of assistance and direction as their adolescent acquires more competence. Teenagers may wish they were adults, but the time has not yet come. Adherence to parental authority is thought to contribute to the healthy growth of adolescents.
Dr. Edlynn advises parents to demonstrate respect for their adolescent’s maturing skills and independence by praising these developments.
3. Show your genuine support.
To be truly supportive, one must offer material, emotional, and, where necessary, financial assistance. In the end, if you want your teen to talk to you, you need to be there for them. This goes beyond simply attending their events, such as performances or games. It also does not mean that you can expect your adolescent to open up to you if you offer them money.
In addition to being there for your teen during the bright points in their lives, showing that you care enough to be there for them while they’re struggling is what it means to support them truly. Teens can be notoriously private about their struggles, so having patience is essential. Show them that you’re committed to them and won’t reject them because of their predicament. Give them your support and affection as they make their way through this stage of life.
4. Create space.
Your adolescent may appear to be withdrawing from you, but they really want quality time together, although on their own terms. When you and your teen have learned more about each other’s likes and dislikes, you can make a plan to try out a shared activity.
Adolescents can become dissatisfied and withdraw when they feel they are being overloaded or micromanaged. People are more likely to accept your invitation if they believe you genuinely want to spend time with them. Discover the ways in which your adolescent prefers to give and receive affection. Intimacy and mutually understood limits can be strengthened using this method.
Like anything else, building relationships takes time. Just take things as they come and try to be as open and honest as possible with your teenager.